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Obama calls for peaceful protests and 'overwhelming participation at the ballot box'

Obama calls for peaceful protests and 'overwhelming participation at the ballot box'
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Former President Obama on Friday called for “peaceful, sustained” demonstrations for racial justice as the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., has ignited a new round of protests and demands for reform across the nation.

“As people exercise their right to protest all across the country––let the undeniable paths of our progress be a guide going forward: peaceful, sustained protest; strategic, committed organizing; and purposeful, overwhelming participation at the ballot box,” Obama tweeted.

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The tweet came as thousands of people congregated in Washington, D.C., in a march against police brutality and systemic racism held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Kenosha has become a new epicenter of unrest after Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back in front of his children on Sunday. Blake remains hospitalized, and his family has said he is at least temporarily paralyzed.

The Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation, but the officers involved have not been arrested or charged.

The situation has grown more tense after a young man fatally shot two people amid the Kenosha protests this week. The suspect appears to be a supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE and the “Blue Lives Matter” movement, and there is video of him running through the streets with a long gun confronting and shooting protesters.

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Trump has said he’s sending federal officers into the city, accusing elected Democratic officials of ignoring crimes protesters are committing in the streets. Images of flaming buildings and stories of businesses being burned to the ground have emerged.

The president did not mention Blake in his GOP convention speech on Thursday night, but he accused Democrats of standing with “with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters and flag-burners” in Kenosha and other cities.

Biden and other Democrats this week talked about their support for Blake and the racial justice movement. But they also made a point of condemning the destructive elements of the protests.

“Burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence,” Biden said. “Violence that endangers lives. Violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community. That’s wrong.”

Multiple sports teams, beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks, have postponed or sat out games in an effort to draw attention to the shooting.